American Chemical Society
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Size-Limited Penetration of Nanoparticles into Porcine Respiratory Mucus after Aerosol Deposition

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-03-09, 00:00 authored by Xabier Murgia, Paul Pawelzyk, Ulrich F. Schaefer, Christian Wagner, Norbert Willenbacher, Claus-Michael Lehr
We investigated the rheological properties and the penetration of differently sized carboxylated nanoparticles in pig pulmonary mucus, on different distance and time scales. Nanoparticles were either mechanically mixed into the mucus samples or deposited as an aerosol, the latter resembling a more physiologically relevant delivery scenario. After mechanical dispersion, 500 nm particles were locally trapped; a fraction of carboxylated tracer particles of 100 or 200 nm in diameter could however freely diffuse in these networks over distances of approximately 20 μm. In contrast, after aerosol deposition on top of the mucus layer only particles with a size of 100 nm were able to penetrate into mucus, suggesting the presence of smaller pores at the air-mucus interface compared to within mucus. These findings are relevant to an understanding of the fate of potentially harmful aerosol particles, such as pathogens, pollutants, and other nanomaterials after incidental inhalation, as well as for the design of pulmonary drug delivery systems.